Women's Role In Anglo-Saxon Society

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Oscar Chavez Professor Melnarik English 46A 18 September 2014 Women in Anglo-Saxon society The roles Anglo-Saxon women played in their society innovated over a period of 600 years. The Anglo-Saxon period stretched from the fifth to eleventh century. As in most cultures today, the roles of the women in Anglo-Saxon times included parent, spouse, peace-weavers, and lovers. Although Anglo-Saxon women had a defined position, their role is forever important. Although not necessarily “culturally heroic” figures during the Saxon times, Anglo-Saxon women were able to achieve self-respect in presuming their parts as parent or say spouse. Women’s roles during the Anglo-Saxon times were important to society because they were in charge of keeping the communities…show more content…
These women oftentimes married a brother or son from another clan to keep truce between the two tribes. These marriages were unfortunately not always successful, eventually leading to divorce/and or death in some cases. Various works have demonstrated this particular role of women from past times such as “Beowulf”. An example would be the story of Hildeburh, a Danish woman who is married to an enemy Frisian, Finn. During a battle on both ends, Hildeburh’s marriage results in the death of a son and brother. For peace is never achieved, now she must bear a double burden. “Then Hildenburh / ordered her own / son’s body / be burnt with Hnaef’s” (Norton, 65). Anglo-Saxon women took full obligation of the everyday activities in their households similar to today in most cases. The wife‘s daily assignment was to “supervise” the slaves, sew garments for the household, and act as a hostess. Although in later times and present day, it is widely known for the woman to prepare the food, in Anglo-Saxon culture it varied, it was more traditional for the men to prepare the food and for the women to serve as host and serve the drink/welcome the guest. Wealhtheow, queen of the Danes, from “Beowulf”, demonstrates her role as a hostess. Wealhtheow, was in charge of bringing out a cup or an assortment of treasures to the invited warriors and guest during…show more content…
Times may change but in general the roles women have in society are still the same. Anglo-Saxon women were raised in a paternal home. Young females lived with their parents, but were overly protected by the male figure in the household. When the female grew into the appropriate age for marriage, they would then move into their new husbands home. A woman’s main priority and fidelity was dedicated to her husband, whom then became her paternal figure. The wife would then have his children. In “The Wife’s Lament”, the narrator feels agony for her confinement but more importantly, she laments the break between her and her husband. Despite whatever troubles she has with her husband and their separation, the narrator continues to obey her husband. “That death alone / would ever divide us” (Norton, 121). While marriage did not always guarantee happiness for the women, she did her best to satisfy her husbands needs and in times decayed over his

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